Author Topic: Chinese Holly (Ilex crenata)… oh boy...  (Read 9786 times)


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Chinese Holly (Ilex crenata)… oh boy...
« on: May 31, 2015, 09:40 PM »
I am relatively new to bonsai, and perhaps I bit off more than I can chew.

I found a fine looking (but relatively immature) Chinese Holly a(ilex crenata) t a local garden center, and I thought I start my 'outdoor' bonsai efforts using this specimen (several ficus varieties have been trained/potted and are growing vigorously in my house). Pic attached.

Anyway, I thought the root mass would be relatively shallow, but it turns out I had to cut about 2/3 of the mass (depth) to get the mass into this pot.

My plan is to keep it out of sun/wind/weather for 3-4 weeks in the hopes that it will recover.

My concerns are 1) too much root mass has been removed; 2) it's still got fruit (left over from last winter?); and 3) both of these factors should have been clear indication that it should not have been disturbed (repotted) at this time of year, and I certainly should not have lopped off 60% of the root mass...

The tree and I are located in zone 7b (Oklahoma City, USA), and my selected soil mix is 50% akadama, 25% loam, 25% grit.

What are the chances? Is this poor young tree doomed?

Thanks in advance.


Leo in NE Illinois

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Re: Chinese Holly (Ilex crenata)… oh boy...
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2016, 11:26 AM »
I'm surprised you got no responses when you posted 10 months ago. If you are still a member, how did this one do? Did it survive?

There is a "best season" for repotting and root work, and that is in early spring, just before or as new buds begin to swell, before any new leaves emerge. Repotting at this time can be quite radical and generally the tree will survive.

There is a "Second Best" season, and that is late summer, at least 6 weeks or more before first frost. Best to wait late enough in the summer that it has begun to get cool at night. In my zone 5b climate this "second best" season begins about Aug 15 and ends about Sept 15. Timing will be different dates for your area. IF you do repotting at this time, remember the tree will not be quite as winter hardy, protection should be provided to protect from extreme cold.

The "second best" is definitely not as favorable as the spring repotting season, but for many deciduous and some conifers, it does work fairly well if logistics do not allow a spring re-potting.

Repotting out of either of these 2 seasons is risky. Some trees may survive, some won't. The health of the tree beforehand and the after care will make all the difference as to whether or not out of season repotting will prove fatal or successful.


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Re: Chinese Holly (Ilex crenata)… oh boy...
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2020, 09:13 AM »
It is now July 2020, how did the Ilex turn out? I have several Ilex Schilling here in florida and we have to be careful not to remove too much root at a time. Reduction is a gradual process.